As expected, the IRS has announced it will roll out a 2024 pilot for a program that will allow taxpayers to prepare and file their returns directly with the IRS. Known as Direct File, the program will initially be subject to various limitations as the IRS works out the inevitable bugs and evaluates how to meet all the needs of such a program on a broader scale:
- The pilot program will be able to handle only certain types of income, deductions and credits. No gig workers, no itemized deductions.
- The pilot program will be open only to taxpayers in states with no income tax, or in states (Arizona, California, Massachusetts, New York, Washington) that have agreed to cooperate with the IRS on this effort.
- Even within those states, the program will be rolled out gradually while the IRS identifies and addresses problems.
The IRS stresses that using Direct File will be optional. Even after the program is fully operational, taxpayers will be able to use tax professionals, commercial software, or other methods if they choose to do so.